By Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader
U.S. Representatives Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) today introduced the Forest Products Fairness Act of 2013. The legislation opens new market opportunities for the American forestry industry by allowing forest products to qualify for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Biobased Markets Program, also known as the BioPreferred Program.
“In my time in Congress, I have been staunchly committed to strengthening our nation’s economic recovery and increasing investment in Oregon’s rural communities,”Rep. Schrader said. “This bill furthers that commitment by addressing the absurdity of wood products currently being excluded from the bio-based definition and updating the antiquated definition to accurately portray the significant role our timber communities play in our nation’s economic output. During this fragile economic recovery, Congress should be encouraging the world to buy sustainable American bio-based products, instead of outsourcing taxpayer dollars so foreign countries can produce and sell their products back to us.”
United States Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) today introduced a companion bill in the Senate. All four Members of Congress introduced similar legislation in the 112th Congress. The bill has been modified with minor technical changes for the 113th Congress.
“A strong forest industry is essential to the 5th District of Pennsylvania and our country as a whole, and is also critical to helping sustain healthy, well managed forests, and growing the local economies that rely on them,” stated Rep. Thompson. “The Forest Products Fairness Act is about promoting U.S. jobs and U.S.-made products and taking every step possible to support the entire economic chain of the forest industry. By expanding forest product market opportunities we will build a stronger industry, from the families who do the harvesting to the manufacturers who produce forest products, which will help sustain and grow the economic output associated with a vibrant timber industry.”
USDA’s BioPreferred Program was created as a part of the 2002 farm bill and was intended to encourage the use of biobased products throughout the federal government. As currently administered, USDA excludes most forest products from the program despite their express inclusion under the law.
A coalition of 90 organizations and companies have endorsed the Forest Products Fairness Act of 2013. The bill was introduced in the House with over 45 bipartisan original co-sponsors.
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